I transform into the biggest of kids come December. It’s my absolute FAVOURITE month EVER. Every little thing fills my heart with joy as I start counting down the days until Christmas, swiftly followed by my birthday. I also know that it can be one of the most overwhelming months where my diary starts to fill up, my to-do list swells and I stop prioritising looking after myself. Making this list is serving as a reminder to stop, take a breath, enjoy the moment and dig out the sequins.
Marriage is a funny one to me. It was never something I wanted for myself, I thought it was nothing more than a piece of paper, I didn’t get the hype that filled my friends and I’d definitely never dreamt of a white dress. And then Al happened and now we’ve made it through our first year as Mr & Mrs Coates, which has led me to note some things that I’ve learnt in the process.
November 12th is a tough day for my family as it marks the anniversary of my grandad’s death. The pain is still heavy in my heart and I don’t imagine that will ever fully ease but that’s ok, because I have 13 years of glorious memories that I treasure and reminisce on.
I sometimes struggle to relax, especially when my mind is bubbling away with self-doubt, anxious thoughts and bloody to-do lists. I have to be armed with a toolkit of things that I can turn to to help me feel calm, before it all gets too overwhelming.
You inviting tub of hot, bubbly, water. What would I do without you? I mean, a shower seems like the obvious answer but it’s not the same. You’re so comforting. The way you let me slide right down until my shoulders are enveloped by a gentle, warm lapping of bubbles. Delicious. Nothing makes me feel as relaxed as you do.
I’d been wanting to read Adam Kay’s book, This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, for a while and finally remembered to grab it from the airport on the way to the surprise I’d booked for the husband as an anniversary, birthday and fuck-it-you-only-live-once holiday. I devoured it over two days. Reading endless paragraphs out loud to my husband, either in horror or hilarity, at Adam’s diary entries as a junior doctor.
One of the best decisions we’ve ever made was taking Lils on from a bestie. Her circumstances had changed and she was unable to give Lils the attention she needed. Problem was, Lils was old, really old, and no one else showed any interest. Which broke my heart. Hence why she now lives with us and has done for the last 2 years.
Emma Thompson wrote a line in October’s copy of Red magazine which really resonated with me and I haven’t been able to shake it since. “I wish I’d known that success is a byproduct, not something to be strived for. The process is the most important thing.” This got me thinking about some of my greatest successes and again, what that word means to me.
I feel a huge sense of uncertainty is hanging over my future and on some days I find that thrilling, that I’m ready for that next challenge, and the next I can feel the bubbles of anxiety starting to boil in my chest because uncertainty still scares me. I’ve acknowledged that both of those feelings are allowed and understandable but it doesn’t stop me from feeling confused and unsure.
Turns out I can be incredibly sneaky when I need to be. Case in point, I booked a holiday 4 weeks ago as a surprise to my husband and managed to keep my gob firmly shut until we were in the car on the way to the airport. Get in.